Because of the current controversy on the origin and clinical value of circulating KRAS codon 12 mutations in lung cancer, we screened 180 patients using a combined restriction fragment-length polymorphism and polymerase chain reaction (RFLP-PCR) assay. We detected KRAS mutations in 9% plasma samples and 0% matched lymphocytes. Plasma KRAS mutations correlated significantly with poor prognosis. We validated the positive results in a second laboratory by DNA sequencing and found matching codon 12 sequences in blood and tumor in 78% evaluable cases. These results support the notion that circulating KRAS mutations originate from tumors and are prognostically relevant in lung cancer.
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